PCgeekdom.com - PC Tricks and Projects

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Basic Linux Tips and Tricks


As a relative Linux Newbie I have a lot yet to learn about our favorite open-source OS. I can however share a few of the tips and tricks I have found so far while working/playing with Linux.

While in a console window:
The Tab key - you can use the Tab key to autocomplete a command. For example if you have a file "thisisareallylongfilename.txt" and in the command line you type "pico thisis" and press tab it will complete the command to "pico thisisareallylongfilename.txt" for you.
Up Arrow - scrolls through previously entered commands
top - similar to Windows Task Manager, makes it easy to see and kill process.
pstree - prints the system tree of processes
cal - Displays a calendar, other options to try: cal -3, cal 7 1776
use echo and python as a scientific calculator: echo 'print (148+25)/(100E6)' | python
wget - a good quick downloader: wget http://...../file.ext
Use a stack to hold directory locations:
pushd . - pushes current directory to top of a stack
- pops and switches to the directory at the top of the stack
time cat
- Start a stopwatch type Ctrl-D to stop and display time, to time how long a process takes just place time in front of the command.
man "command" - If you are unsure of how to use a command, man (manual) will display the documentation for that command. For example you could type man man to get the manual's manual.

These are just a few of the many many commands that can make using Linux easier, for more information on basic Linux, check out Linux.com and Unix Guide.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Shortcuts for Windows - Use the Windows Key


There are many useful shortcuts in the world of PCs. One of my favorite ways of saving a trip from my keyboard to the mouse is to use the Windows Run dialog box. The quickest way to open it up is by pressing Windows key + R. With Run you can open up most anything, below is a list of some regularly used applications. If you know the file name for the program you want to open, just try typing it in and hitting enter.

calc - Windows Calculator
notepad or notepad++ - Text Editor
cmd - Command Prompt (use command for Win95-WinME)
msconfig - Configure Various System settings like startup
msinfo32 - Displays Windows XP System Information
regedit - Windows Registry Editor
winipcfg - IP Configuration for Win95-WinME

iexplore - Internet Explorer
firefox - If you are cool
msimn - Outlook Express
outlook - MS Outlook
winword - Microsoft Word

dvdplay (uses Windows Media Player for DVD playback)
sol - Solitaire
freecell - FreeCell
mshearts - MS Hearts

I might also mention some of the Windows key's other great uses:
Windows key + d - Takes you to the desktop and back
Windows key + e - Opens Windows Explorer
Windows key + f - Run a search
Windows key + l - Logout or Lock your Windows Session (WinXP)
Windows key + Pause/Break - Opens System Properties

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Featured Freeware: Notepad ++ - Programming Tool


A great piece of (Windows only) freeware that got passed my way is Notepad ++ If you do any kind of programming, this is a great simple editor that supports lots of languages. I was pretty impressed when I saw it had formatting support for VHDL. To see a screen shot of an example 7 Segment Display VHDL file I wrote in Notepad++ look here. Notepad++ supports over 35 different languages, some of those include PHP, ASP, VB, HTML, Python, PERL, FORTRAN, and the list goes on and on... It also supports Java, if you are doing a lot of Java development, I would recommend an Open Source environment called Eclipse. It checks for errors on the fly and makes compiling and finding problems a breeze. Eclipse makes dealing with the extremely picky Java language bearable.